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Mayday, Mayday!

By , Louisville, KY
Mayday, Mayday!

I squinted my eyes until they were little slits, trying to block out the blazing sun. My shoulders were sizzling and my cheeks felt tight when I smiled. It was typical April weather in Marco Island, Florida. The birds chirped and squawked as they swooped down for fish, competing with other birds. Fish swam directly underneath our boat, making a rainbow of colors in the water. Heather, Amanda, Emily, Mrs. Schmitt, Mrs. Wilbar, and I grabbed our cameras every time a dolphin would jump out of the water, but we were always a click too late. There were moments that I didn’t want to end, but it always did against my express desire.

Heather was sitting at the front of the boat, her favorite spot, when we started heading towards the island. Amanda was relaxed in the shade at the back of the boat reading while the rest of us were talking about how excited we were for the rest of the week here in Florida. Typical Amanda. Mrs. Schmitt was, of course, basking in the sun while constantly yelling at Heather to put more sunscreen on. The nagging finally got to Mrs. Wilbar, Emily’s mom, and she yelled, “Hush up! We’re on vacation!” Emily rolled her eyes and laughed. It was typical of her mom to ruin the moment.

We were slowly approaching Sand Dollar Island. I look forward to this beach every year because there is a myriad of sand dollars to be found. I tensed as I got ready to jump off the boat into the shallow water and run to shore. Well before our boat reached that point, it took a sudden and fast nosedive into the water and the front of the boat started sinking. Heather and I, who were sitting in the front, jumped up and sprinted to the back of the boat. I felt my jaw go loose and drop as I saw what was happening. My feet were glued to the ground and I felt my mind go blank as I glared at what was happening, not knowing how to react.

“Get the buckets! Grab my phone! Hold the dog!” exclaimed Mrs. Schmitt as reality came back to her. I scooted around everyone and picked up the dog and sat down out of the way. Heather shoved Amanda as she struggled to get the buckets out of one of the tiny compartments. Emily, who’s face had turned completely white, grabbed all the purses and came and sat out of the way with me. The rest of us started kicking, splashing, and scooping water out of the boat.

The front of the boat was still lowering itself into the salty water. Mrs. Wilbar, volunteering to take on the challenge, put on goggles to swim underneath the boat to see if there were any holes that were causing the problem. She disappeared under the surface and came back up, gasping for air and shaking her head in disappointment. She did this once again and in the process of taking a deep breath to swim under for the third time, Mrs. Schmitt opened the ski locker on the floor of the boat and immediately found the problem. The ski locker had filled up with water and was causing the front of the boat to sink!

Before any of us knew it, we were on our knees with our backs bent over in a way that we knew was going to make them sore, scooping out water. By this time, I had let the dog go to go help everyone out. Beads of sweat started forming on my forehead and my heart sank a little when I saw how much water remained. We knew we didn’t have much time left. The pressure was on while we kept shoveling and scooping out bucket after bucket of water from the flooded ski locker.

Every muscle in my body started to ache and I could tell everyone else was feeling my pain by the way they cringed each time they bent over. We managed to push through thirty minutes of scooping out gallons of water. Not only was I mentally exhausted from the constant worrying, but I was physically exhausted, too. My throat felt like a cotton ball as it thirsted for a glass of ice cold water. My back muscles were sensitive, even to touch, from so much hard work. I was soaked in sweat, but we had done it, we had stopped the boat from completely sinking.

We finally reached the island an hour later than originally planned. Either the island was perfect, or I was just so happy to make it there that I felt more entertained than any other day in Florida.





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